Baagoe, Sophus.

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Sophus, Baagoe, born, 04-03-1915 in Flensburg, in the Province of Schleswig-Holstein of the German Empire. Following flight training, Sophus was posted to Zerstörergeschwader 26 “Horst Wessel (ZG 26—26th Destroyer Wing) where he was assigned to the 8. Staffel (8th squadron),  The Staffel was under the command of Oberleutnant Karl-Heinz Meyer and subordinated to III. Gruppe (3rd group) of ZG 26 headed by Hauptmann Johann Schalk. Initially, this Gruppe was equipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 109 D-1 single engine fighter. Oberleutnant Karl-Heinz Meyer survived the war and died 22-09-1987, aged 71.

World War II in Europe began on Friday 01-09-1939 when German forces invaded Poland. At the time, III. Gruppe was based at Neumünster where they were tasked with flying fighter protection over northwestern Germany during the “Phoney War” period. On 25 September, the Gruppe was renamed and became Jagdgruppe 126 (JGr. 126—126th Fighter Group) under command of Oberst, later Generalleutnant Kurt Bertram von Döring and moved to Krefeld Airfield in December. On 04-02-1940, Jagd Gruppe 126 was ordered to Dortmund Airfield where they were reequipped with the Messerschmitt Bf 110, a twin engine heavy fighter, and again became the III. Gruppe of ZG 26. Oberst Kurt Bertram von Döring survived the war and died 09-07-1960, aged 71, in Medingen, Luxembourg

Bagagoe participated in the Battle of France, where he claimed his first aerial victory on 12-05-1940. His opponent may have been Adjudant Piere Déchanet from Groupe de Chasse III/1 of the Armée de l’Air (French Air Force) flying a Morane-Saulnier M.S.406 fighter. In total, Baagoe was credited with four aerial victories during the Battle of France, including two Royal Air Force (RAF) Hawker Hurricane fighters.

A Bf 110 from III./ZG 26, similar to those flown by Baagoe

Baagoe claimed nine more during the Battle of Britain against the RAF, bringing his total to thirteen. In July, the Luftwaffe conducted air operations against British shipping and the RAF over the English Channel referred to as Kanalkampf. On 10 July, Convoy “Bread” was attacked by the Luftwaffe bombers from Kampfgeschwader 2 (KG 2—2nd Bomber Wing), under command  of Generalmajor Johannes Fink, Deutsches escorted by fighters from III. Gruppe of ZG 26. The Luftwaffe bombers and fighters came under attack from RAF fighters of No. 56 or No. 74 Squadron. In this encounter, Baagoe claimed two aerial victories. Generalmajor Johannes Fink survived the war also and died 01-06-1981, aged 86 in Pfullingen, Germany.

On 29 July, Erprobungsgruppe 210, (‘Test Wing 210’), under command of Major Walter Storp,

an experimental unit evaluating the Bf 110 in a ground attack role, attacked Convoy “Cat” off Harwich. The Bf 110 assault aircraft were intercepted by Hurricane fighters from No. 151 Squadron . The Hurricane fighters however were fended off by 8. Staffel of ZG 26 and Baagoe was credited with one of the Hurricane fighters shot down. On 18 August, a day that was later referred to as The Hardest Day, the Luftwaffe made an all-out effort to destroy RAF Fighter Command. Supporting this offensive operation, III. Gruppe flew combat air patrol missions. This resulted in fifteen aerial victories claimed for the loss of one of their own, including two Supermarine Spitfire fighters claimed by Baagoe. His 12th aerial victory was claimed on 3 September, probably over fighters from No. 229 or No. 238 Squadron.

ZG 26 relocated to southeast Europe in 1941. There, III. Gruppe supported the German invasion of Yugoslavia from 06-04-1941. Following the collapse of the Yugoslav Army, ZG 26 and all its Gruppen moved to support the German forces in the Battle of Greece in the fighter and fighter-bomber role. On 20-04-1941, Baagoe claimed a Hurricane fighter shot down over Athens, an aerial battle later named the Battle of Athens by Roald Dahl. That day, 10 Bf 110 fighters from 5. Staffel of ZG 26 encountered 15 Hurricane fighters from No. 33 and No. 80 Squadron, flying from Eleusis. The Bf 110 fighters were returning from a fighter escort mission to their airbase at Larissa when they were surprised by the RAF fighters. Both sides lost four aircraft each. In this encounter, Baagoe may have shot down the RAF top ace Marmaduke Thomas St. John “Pat” Pattle from No. 33 Squadron. It is also possibe that Luftwaffe pilot Theodor Rossiwall shot down Pattle. However, “Pat” Pattle, age 27, himself was shot down over the Mediterranean in August 1941. Although his colleagues saw Pattle parachute from his aircraft, he was later picked up dead from the sea. The relief effort had started too late and Pattle had already drowned. The quiet unassuming Pattle had been in the war for only nine months, yet was the most successful British pilot of the war with forty victories. Rossiwall survived the war and died 11-07-1979, age 63, in Vienna.

Death and burial ground of Baagoe, Sophus.

Baagoe and his aerial gunner, Oberfeldwebel Daniel Becker, were killed in action on 14-05-1941 during the prelude of the Battle of Crete, shot down in their Bf 110 D-3 (Werknummer 4290—factory number). There is some dispute over how Baagoe died; he was either killed by anti-aircraft fire from the ground or by RAF pilots. He may have been shot down by the New Zealand Gloster Gladiator pilot Derrick Fitzgerald Westenra of No. 112 Squadron. Derrick Fitzgerald Westenra survived the war and died age 81 on  17-08-1999 in Omokoroa. New Zealand

Baagoe was posthumously awarded the Knight’s Cross of the Iron Cross (Ritterkreuz des Eisernen Kreuzes) on 14-06-1941. He was the only Knight’s Cross recipient of Balkans campaign.

Baagoe was credited with fourteen aerial victories claimed in an unknown number of combat missions, all of which claimed over the Western Allies.

Sophus, Baagoe is buried at the German war cemetery of Maleme on Crete, Section (Block 1—Grave 480), close to the grave of Generalmajor der Fallschirmjäger. Kommandeur der 9th Division on Crete. Bruno Oswald Brauer.

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